Ohio State knows Georgia defensive line can ruin Buckeyes’ season: ‘We got to play our best game up front’
“I think they do a great job with their hands,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. I think they do a good job with their pad level, and they try to just eat up as many gaps as possible and try to create a mess inside, and they do a good job of that, and they have. They’ve done that against a lot of great teams and a lot of great offenses. We know we’ve got to play our best game up front.”
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Georgia had the nation’s No. 1 rush defense this season, and that was with Carter being limited for much of the first half of the season with knee and ankle injuries. Since returning against Florida, Carter has shown why he’s one of the best players in college football.
Ohio State’s running game is in question as it will be without talented running back TreVeyon Henderson. The Buckeyes should have leading rusher Miyan Williams for this game, but he had only eight carries for 34 yards in the team’s loss to Michigan.
The defensive line will play a huge role in this game for Georgia, given some of the depth issues Georgia has at the outside linebacker position. Without Nolan Smith, Georgia has not been able to generate the same type of pressure coming off the edge.
With Georgia facing off against Heisman Trophy finalist CJ Stroud, applying pressure will be key to winning the game for Georgia. The defensive line, chiefly Carter, will need to find a way to consistently make Stroud uncomfortable in the hopes that he makes an errant decision.
Stroud has 37 touchdowns to just five interceptions on the season.
“A lot of teams have gotten in his face and gotten him off his point a little bit,” Logue said last week. “I think that is what kind of rattles him. So I think we have to do a lot of different things and just get in his face.”
Related: CJ Stroud offers up first thoughts on Georgia football: ‘They have very little to no weaknesses’
For as well as this Georgia line has played this season, it’s worth remembering that none of them were starting a season ago when Georgia took on Michigan in the College Football Playoff semifinals. At that point, future first-round picks Travon Walker, Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt were clogging rushing lanes.
Yet with all the personnel turnover, Georgia has still found a way to have an impactful defensive line. Carter played a massive role in last season’s title team, he blocked a field goal in the championship game win over Alabama, but he won’t be alone when Georgia takes the field on Saturday.
It speaks to what Georgia has been able to build over time, and what it hopes to keep going in the future when Carter, Logue and others are off in the NFL.
“It’s just culture. That’s not going to change,” Smart said. “What we do is not going to change. We rep a lot of players at practice. We have a system set up to get our twos and threes ready. So the next cast of defensive players is getting ready right now just like they were last year. I think, if you’ve got a good formula for getting guys ready, it prevents large gaps in seasons.”
Kirby Smart on why the Georgia football defense continues to be a force
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